I have not been a supporter of renewables before but the SNP is to be congratulated for the announcement of a £10m prize for the creation of a successful sea turbine. I may not be persuaded that any "commercially viable" turbine working on renewable power is possible, certainly compared with the low cost of nuclear electricity, but this will encourage cutting-edge engineering companies to set up in Scotland. Also, unlike most government projects, if nobody achieves the target it costs nothing.

Such prizes for technology projects (known as X-Prizes) have not been used often in history but Alex Salmond is right to say that "the history of such innovation prizes shows that they repay their investment many, many times over".

Lindbergh's solo Atlantic flight was as a result of such a prize put up by a French hotelier. The international flight industry was enormously enhanced by that achievement. John Harrison's discovery of a way to measure longitude was a result of a prize put up by the British government. The flight of Spaceship One, which led to the Virgin Galactic project was inspired by a private prize of £5m.

This government has shown more initiative in this one action than its predecessors did in eight years. A bit more progressive thinking like this could not only help make Scotland prosperous but also a world engineering leader again.

Neil Craig, Glasgow.